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'Phase 4' coronavirus bill?

Friday, April 03, 2020 7:05 PM | Anonymous
Following the massive $2.2 trillion CARES Act to provide direct cash payments to Americans and expand unemployment, signed March 27, Congress already is eyeing a "phase four" legislative package to respond to the coronavirus pandemic amid continuing signs of economic devastation and widespread job loss.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said March 30 that members of the House could do committee work remotely to have legislation ready to approve when congressmen return from recess in late April.
The first three phases passed in lightning speed — especially for Washington, D.C. — in March. A recap:
Phase 1
Targeted at slowing the spread of the virus, Phase 1 allocates a significant portion of the funds to the Department of Health and Human Services for vaccination research, CDC emergency funding, medical equipment, and grants for state, local, and tribal public health agencies and organizations. In addition, the bill provides $20 million to the Small Business Administration disaster loans programs to support the SBA’s administration of loan subsidies that will be made available to affected small businesses.
Phase 2
The bill’s main feature is federally mandated paid leave available for certain employees. Employers with less than 500 employees are required to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to any employee unable to work due to quarantine, isolation, coronavirus symptoms, or who are caring for someone in quarantine or isolation, or who has a child in schools that have been closed. Tax credits will be provided to the employer to offset these costs. Employees are further protected under the bill as they cannot be required to find replacements or use other paid time off. Also provides paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing, expanded unemployment benefits, and food insecurity measures.
Phase 3
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) carries a number of provisions. Among them:
• Allocates $500 billion for assistance to businesses, states, and municipalities, with no more than $25 billion designated for passenger air carriers, $4 billion for air cargo carriers, and $17 billion for businesses critical to maintaining national security
• Creates a $349 billion loan program for small businesses
• Provides $1,200 to Americans making $75,000 or less ($150,000 in the case of joint returns and $112,500 for head of household) and $500 for each child
• Expands eligibility for unemployment insurance and provides people with an additional $600 per week on top of the unemployment amount determined by each state
• Expands tele-health services in Medicare
• Provides the Secretary of the Treasury with the authority to make loans or loan guarantees to states, municipalities, and eligible businesses
"There’s so many things we didn’t get in any of these bills yet in the way that we need to," Pelosi said after Phase 3 was passed.

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